The daughter of former Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada criticized the cleanup efforts made by the successor of her father for risking the businesses of the poor people to clean the streets of the country’s Capital.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Jerika Ejercito seems annoyed by the support being received by Manila Mayor Isko Moreno on social media after he decided to clean up Divisoria and successfully convinced the illegal vendors to avoid doing their businesses in the middle of the street.
Ejercito questioned the decision made by Isko Moreno, asking if the new Mayor of Manila even consulted the people who are going to be affected by the cleanup drive.
She pointed out that while Moreno has a good intention in ending the bribery issues along Divisoria, the Mayor should also think by the vendors who lost their source of income because of his operations.
The daughter of the former Manila Mayor was also saddened that the netizens are praising Moreno, while not thinking of the welfare of the poor vendors of Divisoria.
She believed that only big businessmen would benefit the cleanup drive of Moreno, while the poor vendors would be dumped.
Ejercito even took a swipe to the Duterte administration, saying that Oplan Tokhang made the netizens anti-poor.
You can read her post below:
“Divisions of Divisoria
When informal workers are forced out of their livelihood due to beautification campaigns for urban spaces, we question how democratic the
The clearing operations of vendors in Divisoria and other parts of Metro Manila sidewalks raise concerns on the welfare of these urban dwellers.
How were they integrated into the formal decision-making body? How were they consulted in methods applied that should enable them as citizens to thrive in a city mired in crisis?
A viral video showing Isko Moreno with a group of policemen conducting a “dialogue” with the vendors is yet to be weighed as truly democratic and humane since these are not the majority of the people affected but is just a captured number of vendors promised of relocation in other parts of Manila.
We recognize that the issue of bribery and corruption among barangay officials has to be addressed, but immediate displacement has never been a clear solution especially when opportunities for the poor to make money is close to none.
Divisoria as a marketplace for cheap wares has already been part of the history and culture of Filipinos.
When these vendors are excluded from Divisoria itself, who gets to sell are those who can only afford privatized establishments.
As we speak, the displaced vendors have no sure source of income. Where shall they get their daily needs for their families?
It is easy to laud the efforts of the newly-elected mayor all savvy with a PR team well-versed in projecting the “goodness” of the operations in social media, even using Facebook Live to get positive sentiments.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness, as they say, but when constituents are displaced and stomachs are churning for a kilo of rice or piece of bread when stalls that somehow provide basic necessities for decades are dismantled in a day—who plays God in a world of uncertainty and desolation?
The response of netizens on this issue is all the more dismaying. How can things be celebratory when people lose their occupations?
There is yet a change of perspective that has to be done toward the way we see the poor as mere “garbage,” “eyesore for passersby,” and “cause of traffic”.
It is easy to be tied with the local government’s legalities as to who has a permit and who has none.
Each day, the contradictions seemingly intensify between the middle class and the urban poor, but the state is only pitting citizens against their fellow citizens.
At the end, who benefits from Isko’s efforts but big businessmen? How is this even different from the demolitions led by the likes of Ayala and Sy?
When in the countryside, farmers and indigenous peoples are already evicted from their lands due to gentrification in the guise of progress—are we still surprised when displaced vendors turn to anti-social activities and become criminals themselves?
We must be critical enough to see that this is the same logic that Rodrigo Duterte propagates.
Has the tokhang mentality already been deeply ingrained in our consciousness?”
Moreno gained mass support from the netizens after he miraculously transformed Divisoria to a clean street.
After the cleanup operation, the vehicles that can now pass along the streets of Divisoria.
A video also showing Moreno talking to the vendors of Divisoria has gone viral on Facebook, getting more than 4-M views.